Interviewer: Laurel Sanders
Date: November 12, 2010
This interviewee, who chose to contribute confidentially to the project, was born in 1939 in Wisconsin, although her father was a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. He was employed at various reservations around the country throughout her childhood. The interviewee received a degree in nursing from Michigan State. Throughout the course of her career, she has had experience with many facets of nursing, including hospital work, public health, and helping to create a nursing program for a community college.
In the interview, she discusses her childhood, early illnesses, and decision to become a nurse. She describes the health care that she remembers on the various American Indian reservations where she spent her childhood and the health care professionals with whom she came in contact. She discusses her education, focusing on the differences between what she learned in the classroom and her practical experience. She also speaks about the social life for student nurses and interactions between nurses and doctors. She describes her public health work and her advocacy for patients.
The interviewee also talks about particularly Cherokee topics, such as the ways in which Native Americans are perceived by others and her co-workersâ and acquaintancesâ perceptions of her own Cherokee identity. She recounts the cultural adjustments she made while working on the reservation and the home remedies and traditional medicine she has encountered. She discusses the place of women in Cherokee culture, traditionally and today. The interviewee also describes the current state of healthcare on the reservation and gives her observations of changes in nursing over time.